Bitter

burnt food - rice and lentils

I don’t get upset when my dentist calls to say that I owe an additional $200 because I didn’t tell them my insurance changed. I don’t get (too) upset when I forget to pick up my favorite pair of Nike Free shoes from the check-in line at the airport. I don’t get upset when the free $15 certificate expires from one of my favorite clothing stores. It’s just stuff. It comes and goes.

But when something I cooked or baked is sub par or god forbid, bad, it’s a different story. It’s upsetting on many levels:
• Quality ingredients wasted
• Time and effort wasted
• Post-cleaning without the benefits of a tasty treat at the end
• Nothing to share with friends

Julia Child once said never apologize for the food you make. It’s good advice because what can be worse for your friends/family/guest than to eat the bad food while listening to you apologize incessantly. It’s best to silently learn from the mistake and move on. Just like all good advice, this one is hard to follow sometimes.

A couple of days ago, I baked some whole wheat bread. I lovingly kneaded the dough and put it in a warm place to rise. Then, I went for a run and returned a little later than planned. The dough had risen and the apartment smelled of yeast. Heaven. In a hurry, I punched it down and set it aside for the second rise. Because it was getting late, I didn’t knead the dough again as well as I should have. Consequently, all the carbon dioxide trapped during the first rising didn’t escape. Result? Beautiful, but bitter bread.

I wanted to say something and explain my mistake every time friends sliced a hunk expecting it to taste as good as it looked. Instead, I just bit my tongue and offered some cream cheese and preserve.

Moving on.

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Chika Gujarathi is a freelance writer and a mother of three from Raleigh, NC. She writes for national and local publications about lifestyle, travel, books, and of course, motherhood! Her most current project involves illustrating and publishing a children’s Hindi book. When not adventuring with her family in the minivan, you can find her riding the streets of Raleigh on her beloved bike Linus.

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